Historical Markers
Henry R. Rouse Historical Marker
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Henry R. Rouse

Lake Erie Region


Marker Location:
PA 8 near South borough line of Rouseville

Dedication Date:
December 11, 1996

Behind the Marker

Stories of boom and bust in the oil industry intrigue many Americans, as do stories of disasters. The flammability of oil and the tragedy it spawned gripped many who followed the industry's growth.
An etching portrait of Henry R. Rouse.
An etching portrait of Henry R. Rouse.

Such was the experience of Mr. H.R. Rouse. In April, 1861, Rouse had the good fortune to locate a "gusher". One problem was that no one knew what to do with such massive quantities of crude oil. With a well flowing out 3,000 barrels a day, there was no time to contain the oil or to take precautions for the surroundings.

Rouse's well gushed toward the sky; the oil drenched anything and anyone within a few yards. Then a spark ignited a horrific explosion. Consumed by the flames were the land, buildings, and some nearby people. Rouse was horribly burned and died shortly thereafter. Lurid descriptions of the scene and of Rouse could be found in many national newspapers.

In an industry replete with stories of greed and underhandedness, Henry Rouse's reputation places him among its most revered leaders. Rouseville was named after the deceased.

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